Welcome to Hallmark Health's Media Coverage section. This section is designed to assist patients and journalists seeking information about our current news and to introduce our healthcare experts. We are also available to assist you by providing information about Hallmark Health and its members, including Lawrence Memorial of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospitals.
- Created on Wednesday, September 07 2011 14:41
Sept. 7, 2011
By Nicholas Iovino
It’s no secret that women often rank taking care of others above taking care of themselves. The health of those caregivers, however, could not be more important for the children, husbands and older relatives who depend on them.
That’s one reason why Hallmark Health, which includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, has organized a series of dinner seminars this fall inviting women to learn more about their health and how to avoid the pitfalls that accompany stress, aging and cancer risk.
“Women really are the caregivers,” said Judy Sadacca, outreach manager for imaging and endovascular services at Hallmark Health. “If you look at that, then caregivers have to take care of themselves, too. We tend to look at ourselves last.”
Hallmark experts will give presentations on different topics, including breast health, coping skills for the stresses of life, and the importance of early detection to minimize the risks associated with cancer. The series of dinners will take place at the Montvale Plaza, 54 Montvale Ave., Stoneham, on Sept. 21, Oct. 19 and Nov. 3.
“One of the important things we hope to come out of this is to empower women to speak to physicians about their breast health,” said Eileen Dern, director for community services for Hallmark Health. “I think that’s a really important part of this. Women have to feel empowered about talking to their health care providers and feel free to ask those questions.”
The first dinner seminar on Sept. 21 focuses on women’s breast health, genetic testing and mammography. Attendees will hear presentations from Patricia Sereno, MD, family physician and Boston medical director for Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure; Rebecca Eisenberg, MD, medical director, Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center and Olga Efimova, MD, PhD and radiologist.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, other than skin cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. The latest statistics show that one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
The American Cancer Society estimates about 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed for women in 2011.
“We really want to dispel the myths about mammography and breast imaging,” said Dern.
In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded that women in their 40s should stop having annual mammograms and older women should cut back to one exam every other year. Hallmark experts and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure refute that study, saying it’s more important than ever for women to conduct monthly self breast exams and for women 40 and older to schedule an annual mammogram.
Breastfeeding is another practice health experts are pushing women to adopt post-pregnancy. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin released a “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding” in January of this year.
“Aside from benefiting the baby, it’s also helpful for women,” said Dern. “They are less likely to develop breast cancer.”
The second dinner seminar on Oct. 19 is called “Finding the Wise Woman Inside of You, the Wise Women’s Health Club.” Paula Kelly from the Huggins Center for Alternative Therapy and Paula Richards of Spirit Rising Studio will give presentations on alternative therapies like yoga and reiki and talk about how to listen to your body.
“It’s about coping with the stressors of daily life,” Dern said. “Women will hear about healthy ways to cope rather than overeating.”
Screenings and health information will also be provided. Attendees will have a chance to get their blood pressure tested, screen for osteoporosis and register for a mammogram in the future.
The third dinner seminar, scheduled for Nov. 3, is titled “A Wealth of Knowledge Awaits You — Cancer Talks for Women.” Experts from Hallmark’s Health Hematology and Oncology Center will discuss ways women can reduce their risk for developing cancer and detect it early using age appropriate screenings.
“Our specialists are going to be talking that evening about the health screenings they can do, some cancers that are more specific to women than men, and cancers that women don’t think about like lung cancer or head and neck cancer,” Sadacca said.
The series of dinner seminars is free and open to everyone, but participants must register in advance either by going to the events calendar at www.hallmarkhealth.org or by calling 1-800-540-9191.
Funding for the series was provided by the Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Hallmark Health Women’s Catalyst Fund and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Massachusetts Affiliate.
An annual women’s golf tournament held in May also helped provide funds for the series.
“We’re tying the pieces together so they can really see the connection,” Dern said. “You don’t’ have to attend all three [seminars]. We expect that women will be interested in different topics and expect to get a wide range of people from their 20s through their elder years.”
- Created on Wednesday, August 24 2011 18:32
Melrose Free Press
Aug. 17, 2011
By Rob Barry
It’s a problem that parents everywhere will face at one time or another: shopping with a toddler. You never know how long their attention span will last or what they’re likely to get into. It can be a lot for a parent to handle.
In an ongoing series of events called “Shopping with Tots,” Hallmark Health is trying to make a difference.
“It’s important to get the kids involved,” said Kim Talbot, nutrition manager at Hallmark, “We always say you’re looking for 3 grams of dietary fiber. Give them that box and have them compare it to Cheerios to get them to see the difference.”
Challenges are everywhere in the supermarket, Talbot said, most of the sugary foods kids see advertised during their cartoons are not what they should ideally be eating, yet they’re all on shelves at toddler eye level.
To get parents thinking about fun strategies to get their tots involved in shopping, Talbot has helped to organize a series of scavenger hunts at the Shaw’s Supermarket on Essex Street.
“For the program we have them do a rainbow scavenger hunt,” said Talbot. “So they try to find something of every color.”
The idea, Talbot said, is to try to use kids’ developmental stages to your (an their) advantage. Older kids who are starting to read can make a game out of reading labels and looking for certain ingredients. Or they can work on counting by looking for the number of grams of healthy ingredients like fiber.
The scavenger hunts are designed to last under 30 minutes, which Talbot says is about as long an attention span as you can hope from a 2-to-5-year-old. The organizers tell the kids that each color of vegetable has different benefits to the body and they go off searching.
Talbot said some of them had a tougher time finding blue or purple produce.
“This last one we had a little boy come who was wearing big rain boots and binoculars,” Talbot said. “He was looking down the aisles. I think his mother had gotten him excited before the scavenger hunt.”
The final Shopping with Tots scavenger hunt will take place on Oct. 11 at 9:30 a.m. at the Shaw’s on Essex Street.
For some general tips, Talbot said it’s good to teach kids what numbers to look for where. For instance, on any juice product, you can teach kids to look for “100 percent juice.”
“And don’t make your kid be a member of the clean plate club” Talbot said. “Kids eat until they feel filled up. Don’t make food a reward or penalty.”
- Created on Thursday, July 28 2011 13:31
July 28, 2011
By Nicholas Iovino
A relentless wave of heat and humidity, which caused more than 30 deaths as it moseyed its way through the Midwest and Northeast of the country last week, finally broke for North Shore residents over the weekend.
Temperatures dipped nearly 20 degrees between Friday, July 22, and Sunday, July 24. But the summer isn’t over yet, and it’s imperative that people recognize heat-related illness symptoms and how to prevent such ailments from occurring for the remainder of the summer, say experts.
Despite the break in high temperatures, Hallmark Health Hospitals in Medford and Melrose reported seeing about 15 more patients than usual suffering from dehydration and heat related illnesses last weekend.
“There are all different stages of a response for people who are having a bad reaction to the heat,” said Steven Sbardella, MD, chairman of emergency medicine for Hallmark Health System, which includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. “They’re almost all related to some degree of dehydration.”
Sbardella said symptoms can range from vague indicators like nausea, headaches, light-headedness and vomiting to the far extreme of unresponsiveness, comas and, at worst, death.
Seniors are the highest at-risk group for heat-related illnesses. Sbardella said the increased risk often results because many elderly people take certain medications that can make the body more susceptible to heat and dehydration. A lack of awareness or sensitivity to the minor symptoms that would typically trigger most people to address the situation also adds to the increased risk for seniors.
Sbardella recommends older citizens move slower, stay cool and drink a lot more than they’re used to when dealing with extreme heat. Taking breaks and putting off projects is sometimes necessary to ensure safety in sweltering conditions.
“If you’re feeling the effects of the heat, then you’re already behind the eight-ball,” Sbardella said. “You’ve got to pretty much call it a day.”
Another class of patients Sbardella often sees in the Emergency Department on hot days consists of younger people overexerting themselves in the heat and not properly hydrating.
“The ideal situation is if you know you’re going to go outside on a day like today, you start hydrating the day before,” Sbardella said.
In order to beat the heat, the doctor suggests multiplying the amount you would usually drink by 1.5 and avoiding diuretics like coffee and alcohol. Getting to a cool place is also crucial because the body won’t get ride of heat unless the temperature outside is cooler than one’s own body temperature.
“If you start to feel the effects, stop, slow down, and get yourself to a cool place,” Sbardella warned.
If the effects of heat and dehydration persist more than several hours, the doctor insists people come to the Emergency Room where patients can be rapidly rehydrated intravenously.
- Created on Tuesday, June 21 2011 13:37
June 16, 2011
By Rob Barry
Area residents enjoyed bruschetta, fried ravioli and one-on-one chats with Hallmark Health physicians at Pizzeria Regina last month when the company hosted its third Match.doc event, a service designed to allow those seeking a new primary care doctor to meet a few local physicians in a relaxed, conversational manner.
With three doctors in attendance, people came with questions and several left with appointments already set up.
The more conventional method of seeking primary care often involves much trial and error, said Dr. Albert Fine, MD, a physician with Hallmark Health.
“You have no idea in advance as to how you’re going to relate to the practitioner as a patient,” said Fine. “This kind of event gives a patient an opportunity to meet with multiple personality types and find a match.”
The Match.doc event creates a relaxed atmosphere for potential patients, said Fine, which takes the edge off what can otherwise be a less comfortable process.
“You can find a doctor online, but you don’t get to interact with them before an appointment,” said Tom Anderson, Hallmark Health physician liaison and event organizer. “Match.doc is a kind of speed dating approach to finding a doctor.”
It can also be difficult to find primary care doctors that accept Mass Health insurance, which tends to offer lower reimbursements for physicians.
After the first two events in Somerville and Malden, more than 20 patients were matched to doctors, said Jesse Kawa, a communications specialist with Hallmark Health.
The idea for Match.doc came about when one of the committee members saw a similar event held by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), said Kawa. Hallmark quickly pursued the idea with great enthusiasm.
“We want to do these every couple of months in different communities,” said Kawa.
- Created on Monday, May 09 2011 14:59
May 6, 2011
By Kristin Ereckson
While teen pregnancy is on the rise in the U.S., a local home visiting program for young mothers is working to keep the numbers down in Malden and its surrounding communities.
A part of the Healthy Families America initiative, Healthy Families Massachusetts is a statewide home visiting program for first-time parents age 20 and under, funded by the Children’s Trust Fund. Based at Hallmark Health System and located on Commercial Street in Malden, Healthy Families Melrose/Wakefield is the local Healthy Families program that serves Malden and surrounding communities.
According to Healthy Families Program Director Beth Chockley, the goal of the program is to help young families in Malden, Everett, Melrose, Medford, Stoneham, Wakefield, Reading and North Reading to “get off to a healthy start.” Program staff make weekly visits to families’ homes to provide them with a wide range of support, from prenatal education to first aid training to child development education to helping mothers to set personal goals. Participants are allowed to partake in Healthy Families until the child turns 3 years old.
Currently, approximately 50 families are enrolled in the program, with 25 percent residing in Malden, Chockley said.
“Teen pregnancy has been a significant issue in Malden and other local communities,” said Chockley, noting that teen pregnancy affects families of all cultures, across all socio-economic groups. “One of our main goals is to help young parents avoid a second pregnancy. Through education and support, we help them to make responsible choices. We provide them with hope for the future.”
And it seems to be working: only 11 percent of Healthy Families participants have had a second child in the two years since the first birth, compared to the statewide average of 16.6 percent and a national annual rate of 35 percent, Chockley said.
Malden resident Nicole Graffam knows firsthand about what kind of hope Healthy Families can provide. Now 22, she voluntary enrolled in the program at age 18, when she was pregnant with her first child, Nathaniel. She recently graduated from the initiative.
“I was a new mom and didn’t know what I was doing,” Graffam said.
When she first entered the program, Graffam endured many hardships — she lived in a homeless shelter temporarily and struggled to put food on the table. Not only did the Healthy Families program provide her with gift cards to buy groceries, but it also encouraged her to create a list of goals, which included securing her own apartment, going back to school and finding a job.
Graffam felt most relieved to have Healthy Families on hand when she noticed her son consistently banging his head on the floor.
“I thought he had some type of issue, and I didn’t have access to the Internet to do my own research,” Graffam said. “My Healthy Families worker did research for me and reassured me that it’s normal. Eventually, he stopped doing it.”
Three years later, Graffam is in a drastically different place than when she first joined the program — she is living on her own with her son, heading back to Bunker Hill Community College in the fall and working as a youth and teen specialist and administrative assistant for the Joint Committee for Children’s Health Care in Everett.
“The Healthy Families program provides a relationship unlike any other,” Graffam said. “It’s not like a friendship or a relationship with a boyfriend. But it is a relationship where they actually listen and care about you and want to help.”
Billie Ann Senopoulos, a senior home visitor with Healthy Families, has been with the program for 12 years and values all of the relationships she has made with her participants. Her favorite part of her job: bringing a mother and child together.
“When I go to a home, often times the teen has no idea what to do with the infant,” Senopoulos said. “The infant is not being touched. But I teach them how to kiss the baby, how to love the baby. I’m hopefully getting these teens off to a better start in life.”
While the Healthy Families program is aiming to keep teen pregnancy rates low in local communities, national teen pregnancy rates are not so encouraging. For the first time in more than a decade, the nation’s teen pregnancy rates rose 3 percent in 2006, reflecting increases in teen birth and abortion rates of 4 percent and 1 percent, respectively, according to a Guttmacher Institute survey released in January 2010.
“…It is clearly time to redouble our efforts to make sure our young people have the information, interpersonal skills and health services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to become sexually healthy adults,” said Lawrence Finer, Guttmacher’s director of domestic research, in a statement.
Healthy Families is chipping away at providing those such services and, for the most part, has achieved much success: 88 percent of Healthy Families parents have not abused or neglected their children. In addition, 83 percent of Healthy Families participants are continuing their education or have graduated from school, compared to the national level of 53 percent of teen mothers, Chockley said.
“It’s important to influence families as they are starting out, to get them out on the right foot as they are learning their skills and starting their families before patterns are ingrained,” added Chockley. “The first three years of life are most critical.”
— To learn more about the Healthy Families program, call 781-338-7550 or contact Healthy Families Program Director Beth Chockley directly at 781-338-7541.
News & Events
Tuesday, February 25 2014 14:04